Ireland’s first AI Award winners have been announced at the inaugural AI Awards (www.aiawards.ie).

The awards held at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin was organised by the non-profit, AI Ireland with support from Microsoft, Alldus International, the ADAPT Centre and SAP.

Founded in 2018, the AI Awards are part of AI Ireland, a Not for Profit Business which runs a number of community websites and monthly meetups supporting the area of Data Science, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence in Ireland.

The winners were as follows:

Category: AI in Sector – Winner: Nuritas

Nuritas’ unique, disruptive computational approach to discovery uses artificial intelligence, deep learning and genomics to rapidly and efficiently predict and then provide access to the most beneficial for health components hidden within food, called peptides, with in silico predictions validated by their in-house multidisciplinary team of scientists and laboratory.
Nuritas has received global recognition for the impact of its innovative technology which includes multiple award wins and support from EU Horizon 2020 in 2016 for a peptide that carries the potential to prevent pre-diabetic patients from developing diabetes.

Category: Academic Research – Winner: The INFANT Research Centre

The INFANT Research Centre is Ireland’s first dedicated translational research Centre, focused on maternal and child health, hosted by University College Cork. Every year around the world, 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, 2.6 million babies are stillborn and further 2.6 million babies die in their first month of life.
INFANT’s aim is to meet the urgent demands for screening tests, diagnostics, therapeutics, enhanced nutrition and devices for early identification, diagnosis and effective treatment to prevent these perinatal complications and associated adverse outcomes.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the key strategic platforms that INFANT uses to create new diagnostic tools and treatment pathways. They analyse very large and complex health datasets led by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, scientists, engineers and midwives to find new health innovations.
INFANT’s AI-based work has been patented, published in top clinical and engineering journals, licensed to medical manufacturers and some discoveries are undergoing world-wide clinical trials.

Category: Student Project – Winner: Niamh Donnelly (University College Dublin)

Population growth, urbanisation and global warming have made monitoring of environmental resources a critical task for cities and governments.
The problem of mapping tree canopy coverage remains a key activity in this area. However, traditional manual approaches have been impractical to deploy at scale due to high resource requirements, while automated methods using satellite image analysis suffered poor accuracy and robustness.
Niamh Donnelly’s project demonstrated that significant improvements in canopy coverage prediction accuracy could be achieved using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs).

Category: StartUp – Winner: EdgeTier

The EdgeTier “Arthur” system is an intelligent “Agent Assistant”, that sits beside human agents in customer contact centres. Arthur analyses and understands text-based customer queries, prompts agents on what actions to take, and delivers personalised experiences for end-customers.
Arthur balances the accuracy, availability, and speed of an advanced AI system with the nuanced communication, complex decision making, and dynamic capabilities of human agents to achieve new levels of customer service efficiencies. The development of the Arthur system came about after analysis of customer service operations at some of Ireland’s largest contact centres.

Category: Large Enterprise – Winner: McKesson

McKesson Corporation is a global healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better. We’re experiencing an era of unprecedented change in healthcare.
New technology, new services and new ideas will be needed in order to deliver improved outcomes for businesses and patients. McKesson is at the forefront of that transformation. McKesson Labs, a newly formed software innovation team within McKesson Technology focusing on innovation, developer services and automation products, are creating a range of cyber-security applications aimed at tackling the threats towards breaching critical patient data.

Category: Consumer / Customer service – Winner: Voysis

Voysis is a complete voice AI platform that enables natural language instruction, search and discovery across consumer and enterprise applications. The platform was built from the ground up by a team of scientists, engineers, and linguists with expertise in speech technologies as well as the application of end-to-end modeling approaches in cognitive computing and neural networks.
Voysis utilizes speech recognition, natural language processing and understanding, deep learning, and text to speech capabilities, all of which were developed in-house. The company was founded by CEO Peter Cahill, a Ph.D. who has dedicated 15 years to speech technology and neural network research. It is headquartered in Dublin with offices in Boston and Edinburgh.

Cathriona Hallahan, General Manager, Microsoft Ireland, commented “These awards are a recognition of the advances that are making AI more powerful, impactful and prevalent than ever before, and shows how much of an opportunity it presents. Today, we have seen a thoughtful approach to AI by all of these finalists that mirrors our own mission to empower every person on the planet to achieve more in an ethical, responsible and innovative way. I am delighted that Microsoft can support this event which recognises Irish innovation in what is being dubbed the fourth industrial revolution.”

Mark Kelly, Founder of AI Ireland & Chief Customer Officer at Alldus, commented: “Artificial Intelligence refers to technologies that enable machines to sense, comprehend and learn, either on their own or to augment human activities. AI is unleashing the next wave of digital disruption, and these companies here today show Ireland is at the cutting edge of tech innovation. Ireland will further benefit from formalising a national AI strategy so that such innovation is developed to ensure Irish companies become leaders in the global AI economy”.

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